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5 things we learned at Training Camp (7/29)

line-center-72917.jpg's Dan Salomone highlights five takeaways from Saturday's press conferences:


>Can Beckham be even better in 2017?
>For Eli, it's business as usual
>Predicting Training Camp standouts
>Best of Training Camp Practice
>Watch post-practice interviews

In the first full-speed practice of training camp, newcomer Brandon Marshall started with a circus grab on the very first play. Fellow wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. took over from there, hooking up with Eli Manning for a handful of big plays throughout the day. The Giants hope it's just a sign of things to come.

"It felt good," said Marshall, who video chatted with Manning in the offseason to help him learn the offense. "You hear a lot of talk about being over 30 and then there's an extreme drop off. So, for me, that play was awesome because it was really the first play of training camp because it's the first time going against the defense. Being the new guy, you want to prove yourself. Secondly, I want to prove to myself that I can still do it. So making a play that could possibly be maybe not the top 10 plays but possibly the top 20 felt good. I was like, okay, I can still do this."

On Beckham, Marshall added: "Absolutely, that's why I came here, because of him. I'm tired of getting double coverage and vised in the red zone. I'll let him freakin' carry all the weight."


As the Giants proved last year with the first-round selection of Eli Apple, defenses need three top cornerbacks in today's NFL. But if you're going against the Giants' offense, you might need more. In addition to Beckham and Marshall, the Giants have second-year wide receiver Sterling Shepard and first-round draft pick Evan Engram at tight end.

"In the league, in the NFL, you've got to have, what, at least three cornerbacks. We might need five to cover those guys," Pro Bowl cornerback Janoris Jenkins said. "They come out to work every day, and you can just see it as a defense. Everybody is getting better. Nobody is taking a step back or trying to be too much. It's all about getting better and having fun."


Following his breakout season that garnered first-team All-Pro honors, safety Landon Collins has not shied away from saying how great he wants to become. He has also made it clear that one of his ultimate goals is to wear the captain's patch on his chest someday. He's getting there sooner rather than later, said Marshall, who has seen it all while playing for five different teams in 12 seasons.

Marshall compared his leadership skills to nine-time Pro Bowler Brian Dawkins, who was known mostly for his Eagles days before finishing his career with the Broncos. Marshall and Dawkins overlapped for a year in Denver.

"Obviously, I've been on 'Inside the NFL' the last three years, so we get a chance to watch guys from across the league," Marshall said. "You don't really get the opportunity when you don't have a gig like that. I remember being in production meetings and watching [Collins] mic'd up and the way he led stood out to me. To be honest, I'd never heard of him before last year and the thing that stood out was who is this guy, one. Two, I really haven't seen anyone lead that way since Brian Dawkins. For him to be so young, I thought it was even more impressive. He's a stud. You don't get better than that at that position."


For the first time in a few years, there's a strong competition to be Eli Manning's primary backup. Geno Smith, Josh Johnson, and rookie third-round pick Davis Webb are all vying for the job this summer. Smith was recovering from a knee injury this spring, but now that he's fully cleared, the former Jet was second in the rotation today, followed by Johnson and Webb.

"It was good to get him out there in the team reps," coach Ben McAdoo said. "First time we had a chance to put him out there in the team reps. He did primarily seven-on-seven in the offseason, so it's exciting to see. Good competition at the quarterback spot."

McAdoo added: "We're going to roll them all in there, give them a chance to get some reps. Whether it's two, whether it's three, whether it's four, we'll roll all of those guys."


After four years in San Diego, offensive lineman D.J. Fluker is beginning a new chapter in his career on the other side of the country with the Giants. The former No. 11 overall draft pick was brought in to challenge the right side of the offensive line, which is currently manned by guard John Jerry and tackle Bobby Hart. Whether Fluker plays guard or tackle remains to be seen, but in the meantime, he's fired up about his fresh start.

"The first day you walk in the building and everybody just sits there and greets you. I mean, that's when you know, 'Okay, they're happy to have someone come here that wants to play,'" Fluker said. "And you've got people in here that are passionate from the organization, like all around, they're passionate about winning. I mean, we were just learning about 'The Duke' (the nickname of late Giants owner Wellington Mara is printed on every NFL football) just yesterday, about the whole football, like how it started. I was excited, it got me fired up inside. It's about the passion. The passion when you walk in the building, they're all passionate about winning. I mean, where else can you find that? And when I came in, I was like, 'Shoot, I'm at Alabama all over again, I'm all fired up.'"

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